Paul Chain - Opera Decima (The World Of The End) [Minotaur Records - 2020]Here we have a double CD reissue of one of the more experimental/none rock-based albums by revered cult Italian musician Paul Chain( aka Paolo Catena). Originally appearing in the year 1990 Opera Decima (The World Of The End) focused on the more creepy-yet-theatrical ambient, to dark electronica/ industrial side of Mr Chain’s sound, with none of the doom or dark psychedelic rock flavour he’s most known for with either the group's Paul Chain Violet Theatre, Death SS, or as a solo artist.
This recent release appears on Minotaur Records- who over the years have been the main reissuing label of all things Paul Cross related. The two CD’s come presented in an eight-panel digipack- this a black backdrop & gold inked affair featuring a clear slip sleeve, and a mini inlay booklet that recreates the albums original handwritten notes.
The first disc features just two tracks "Dogma" & "The Face", the first track is the longest coming in at forty-four minutes, with the second being half that length. So first up we have “Dogma”- here we open with a blend of sinisterly hovering organ dwell and deep-to-spacy synth buzzes. At around the fourteen-minute mark a slow bashing & smarting cymbal is added to the mix, as well as Chains occasionally dark warbling vocals, creepy whispers & coughs- at points we strip back to down to just organ/ synth textures. Next we, of course, we have “The Face”-
here we begin with a blend of gloom cascading & spiralling church organ, hissing & chilling mumbled vocals, bubbling & stretching electronics. With the later addition of eerier field recordings, joining the mix of industrial textures & distant whispers/ children cries- with higher almost haunting harmonic key runs coming into play towards the tracks end.
Moving onto disc two, and this features six tracks & seventy minutes of music. The disc opens the twenty-three minutes of “Domino” which finds a mix of bleak rising organ tones, suddenly rushing & rattling ambient industrial tones and drifting vocal whisper unease. With latter shadowy skittering-to-watery beats, and sinister ritual keys been added into the mix for great effect.
Next, we have “SX Nevrosi” this nine & half minute track has a very much later Throbbing Gristle vibe, with its mixture of constantly stabbing & jitter electronics. Mumbled-to-bayed vocals, which have a very Genesis P-Orridge feel to them.
As we move on through the second we disc come jerking & snapping beats, buried vocals, and baying guitars of “Jungle city”. Through to the almost seared & sludgy synth-meets- hissing ‘n’ scrubbing beats of“Get Down” which has an almost pared-back Power electronics vibe about it. With the album been finished with just over ten minutes of “In The Days Of Snow” which blends creepily wow-wowing synth crawls, & gloomy church organ lines. With latter on more pronounced chilling harmonic key runs coming in, which sounds like they could be from a latter Nightmare On Elm Street score.
It’s been a year or two since Minotaur Records put out anything Paul Cross related- so it’s great to have this classy reissue of 1990’s Opera Decima (The World Of The End) , and if you're into the more electro/ industrial side of Cross's work this is a no-brainer.